The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Trojans looking to earn their paycheck

 

September 5, 2018

Cade Briggs (22) grabs the ball carrier while Connor Johnson moves in for the tackle last Friday night against Loyola. Ledger photo by Melissa Jenkins

While the first two games of the season did not go as planned, there is still plenty of fight left in the Whitehall/Harrison High School football team.

The Trojans will look to pick of their first win of the season Friday night when they travel to battle Shepherd, a team they played twice during the 2017 season.

Both teams will come into the game coming off losses, Whitehall (0-2) lost their home opener last Friday 36-12 to Missoula Loyola, while Shepherd (1-1) lost 35-24 on the road against Boulder.

Trojans head coach Dan Lacey said his squad is hungry to pickup their first win of the season.

"We talk about putting in the work week and earning our paycheck, and next Friday we are going to earn our paycheck. We want to win and we want to win right now," he said.

The two teams met in week one last season with Whitehall picking up a 28-12 road victory. The Trojans picked up a second win in first round of the Class B playoffs with a thrilling 26-18 victory. Lacey said both teams are different from last year and lost some key players, but he expects the Mustangs to be the same type of gritty team who will try to grind out the game and come away with the win.

Whitehall will be without senior all-state quarterback Max Feight for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. Feight was injured in the first quarter of Whitehall's season opening loss against Colstrip.

MISSOULA-LOYOLA

It was a tough start to the game last Friday night for the Trojans who fumbled on their second play of the game, one of several key turnovers on the evening.

Loyola would take advantage of the miscue with a quick touchdown with 8:05 minutes left in the first, and would quickly score again to push the lead to 14-0 with 6:28 left in the opening quarter.

The Trojans would answer back on their next possession. Following a 40 yard run from Sawyer Keener, quarterback Connor Johnson would find the end zone on a three yard run to cut the score to 14-6 with 1:44 left in the first.

Lacey was happy with how his team responded to the first two scores, and said they talked about not quitting even though it is tough when a player like Feight gets injured so early in the season.

The Rams would connect on two field goals in the second quarter to take a 20-6 lead into half.

Whitehall would score their final touchdown of the game with 2:32 remaining on a Keener run. The score came moments after quarterback Devin Woody was put into the game and connected with Johnson on a 67-yard pass.

Lacey praised both quarterbacks who played Friday ,and said Johnson had to get ready to play the position after Woody got banged up early in the practice week.

"I think the big thing is when you put a quarterback in there that hasn't taken a lot of snaps, we are asking a lot of them," Lacey said.

Whitehall's Tegan Robbins hangs on for the tackle as he fights off the stiff arm from Cooper Waters of Missioula Sacred Heart High School. The Trojans fell 36-12 in their home opener. They will next play September 7 at Shepherd. Ledger photo by Melissa Jenkins

The fifth-year coach felt Johnson battled all game long and was able to change the game with his dynamic ability to the ball.

"He's a competitor. He's the type of kid that when you put him in a situation like playing quarterback and the pressure is on him – he loves that. He was all over the field at quarterback, running back, receiver, defense and special teams. He did not disappoint. He did everything we asked of him," Lacey said.

On the defensive side of the ball, Lacey said he was happy with the play, especially holding what he called a very good Loyola team to several field goals instead of touchdowns.

Lacey said senior defensive end Colby Smith was able to win some one on one battles and did a great job getting to the quarterback. He said the defensive tackles did a great job with their double teams to allow Smith to take advantage of his matchups. He said when you are able to get hits on the quarterback is disrupts the passing game an makes the running game tighter.

 

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